More Than 1 Million Americans Infected By Coronavirus As Trump Says "Worst Of Outbreak Is Over": Live Updates

Summary:

  • Iran sees another drop in deaths
  • For 3rd time, Italy reports more recoveries than new cases in a day, but total tops 200k
  • Google CEO says return to the office won't happen until June 1
  • Russia extends partial lockdown, reports another record batch of new cases, deaths
  • CDC models updated to reflect slightly more US deaths
  • US deaths pass 56k
  • Steny Hoyer says House will not return next week
  • Florida reports drop in COVID-19 cases
  • Spanish official apologizes for spraying beach with bleach
  • McConnell insists Senate will return next week
  • Vilnius launches novel 'outdoor cafe' concept
  • Portugal latest EU member to release plans to end lockdown
  • Netherlands reports lowest single-day death toll in more than a month
  • Surfers return to NZ beaches as the country officially reopens
  • France won't allow large gatherings until at least September
  • Australia reopens Sydney's Bondi Beach despite nearby 'hotspot'
  • NHS releases data showing COVID-19% could be 50% higher in England & Wales
  • Canada reports latest numbers
  • Texas announces plans to start reopening this week
  • Indians reportedly resist reopening push over fears of viral spread
  • Brazil emerging as new 'hot spot' as Bolsonaro continues to deny virus

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Update (1540ET): In a comment that will likely anger his critics despite being supported by the "data" that they're always talking about, President Trump said Tuesday that Americans are "looking forward to the safe and rapid reopening of our country," and that the "worst of the outbreak is behind us."

The comments were made during a briefing about the Paycheck Protection Program as his administration struggles to tamp down yet another PR disaster surrounding the program.

Watch the rest of the briefing below:

In other news: as expected, the Pentagon has announced that HSNS Comfort will leave NYC on April 30.

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Update (1430ET): Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that the company's workforce won't be allowed to return to the office until at least June 1.

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Update (1405ET): Johns Hopkins University has just updated its coronavirus tracker to reflect the numbers just released by New York State (which followed a flurry of reports from states like Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania earlier) and that put the US total over the 1 million-case threshold.

To be exact, the US has reported 1,002,298 cases, and 57,266 deaths.

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Update (1350ET): New York has just released the rest of its coronavirus data from yesterday. The state reported just 3,110 new cases, bringing the statewide total to 295,106.

Additionally, for the first time since March 24, the state reported fewer than 1,000 new hospitalizations. And the number of new admissions to hospitals has fallen 70% since the outbreak's peak as fewer coronavirus patients - and fewer patients in general - arrive.

Cuomo also called a photo of homeless New Yorkers sleeping on the subway "disgusting", and insisted we "have to do better" to take care of our homeless, according to NYT.

At his daily briefing on Tuesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo held up a newspaper photo of homeless people camping on subway trains and said, “That is disgusting, what is happening on those subway cars. It’s disrespectful to the essential workers,” who rely on the subway to safely get to work.

He added: “It’s not even safe for the homeless people to be on trains. No face masks, you have this whole outbreak, we’re concerned about homeless people, so we let them stay on the trains without protection in this epidemic of the Covid virus? No. We have to do better than that, and we will."

Something we interpreted as a subtle potshot at his top rival, Mayor de Blasio.

And before we go, a brief summary of today's data.

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Update (1300ET): The CDC has updated several models to reflect the quicker pace of reopening, and one model frequently cited by the Trump Administration during its press briefings is now calling for 70k US deaths, compared with....60k during its last update.

Seven coronavirus models show US coronavirus deaths will rise in coming weeks, but how sharply depends on how much "contact reduction" Americans practice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The models estimate the numbers of cases and deaths on the state and national levels, and one model from the University of Texas at Austin makes metro-area projections.

"State-level forecasts vary widely, reflecting differences in early epidemic phases, timing of interventions and model-specific assumptions," the CDC says.

Models that factor in strong contact reduction suggest deaths will continue to occur, but will "slow substantially over the next four weeks," the CDC said.

"Conversely, models that do not incorporate as strong contact reductions ... suggest that total deaths may continue to rise quickly."

One model frequently cited by the White House coronavirus task force has upped its predicted death toll again, this time projecting 74,000 Americans will lose their lives to the virus by August.

It's much of a revision...but it appears that CNN is finally paying attention to these CDC projections...we wonder why.

In other news, Italy reported a higher number of recoveries than new cases for only the third time since the outbreak began, two days after its PM promised to start loosening restrictions on Monday.

It's just the latest sign that the global outbreak in western Europe and the US may have peaked a month ago, believe it or not.

Still, as expected, the number of confirmed cases in the country topped 200k, as the Civil Protection Service reported 2,091 new infections and 383 new deaths, bringing its total to 27,385 and the case total to 201,505.

Texas, meanwhile, reported a 3.5% jump in new cases, bringing the state total to 26,171.

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Update (1240ET): Gov. Cuomo is delivering Tuesday's daily press briefing in Syracuse, where he confirmed another 335 deaths (a rate roughly unchanged from the last few days) and supplied more information about the state's plan to reopen its economy.

The governor said the state would develop its own 'guidelines' for reopening...

  • CUOMO: CITES CDC GUIDE OF 14 DAYS OF LOWER HOSPITALIZATIONS
  • NEW YORK VIRUS DEATHS TO 17,638, UP FROM 17,303
  • CUOMO: N.Y. ADOPTING SET OF GUIDELINES FOR REOPENING

...which assured the public would be 'data driven'...

...put another way: it will be driven by whether the trend illustrated below continues, or not.

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Update (1140ET): Following Hoyer's announcement that the House won't return to the Hill next week, Mitch McConnell told reporters that the Senate still plans a return on Monday.

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Update (1135ET): More than 56k Americans have been killed by the coronavirus, according to JHU. There are at least 989,357 cases of coronavirus in the US (likely many more). 56,386 have died as of 11amET according to Johns Hopkins, which runs a tally of international coronavirus data.

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Update (1110ET): Canada just reported 1,605 new cases of coronavirus and 147 new deaths, bringing its totals to 48,500 cases and 2,707 deaths.

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Update (1100ET): Portugal just became the latest EU member state to release plans for lifting its coronavirus restriction, as the FT reports.

Portugal’s president has said that gradual steps will be taken to ease the country’s coronavirus lockdown from next week and that a state of emergency, which came into force on March 18, will end on May 3. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said on Tuesday that the economy would be reopened in small steps, but emphasised that life would not yet return to normal. The end of the state of emergency does not mean the virus has stopped spreading or that we no longer need confinement measures. “Every small step” towards relaxing restrictions would have to be evaluated by experts and politicians, he said.

With fewer than 25k cases reported, Portugal managed to stop the massive outbreak centered in Madrid from crossing over the Spanish border.

Over in Washington, Steny Hoyer, the House Majority leader and No. 2 Dem, just told reporters that the House won't return in person next week, despite Mitch McConnell's claim that lawmakers would be back at the capitol by Monday.

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Update (1050ET): To ensure that nobody goes back to work between now and the end of Russia's upcoming stretch of holidays, Russian President Vladimir Putin has extended his country's partial lockdown until May 11, and left the door open to further extensions if the outbreak isn't brought under control before then.

"We have done so much, but it is still not yet enough," Putin said during a televised speech. "We have been able to slow down the spread of the virus... but the situation remains very complex."

As we noted earlier, Russia reported a record number of cases and deaths earlier.

Meanwhile, France and Spain are unveiling their plans to reopen their economies, as we noted earlier, despite the fact that Germany's mortality rate has ticked higher since it allowed some more shops to reopen last week.

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Update (1040ET): An item published Tuesday morning in the Guardian has caught our eye.

An official in southern Spain has apologised for spraying the local beach with diluted bleach in an attempt to protect residents from Covid-19, writes Ashifa Kassam in Madrid.

The picturesque fishing village of Zahara de los Atunes sent tractors equipped with sprayers along part of its beach last week as officials readied for the release of the country’s children after six weeks of confinement.

An official in southern Spain has apologised for spraying the local beach with diluted bleach in an attempt to protect residents from Covid-19, writes Ashifa Kassam in Madrid.

The picturesque fishing village of Zahara de los Atunes sent tractors equipped with sprayers along part of its beach last week as officials readied for the release of the country’s children after six weeks of confinement.

Spain has been among the countries hardest hit by coronavirus, with more than 23,800 deaths. The government imposed lockdown measures in mid-March, and this week the measures were loosened to allow children under the age of 14 daily outings of up to an hour.

The decision to disinfect the beach has incensed environmentalists. "It’s totally absurd," said María Dolores Iglesias Benítez. "The beach is a living ecosystem. And when you spray it down with bleach, you’re killing everything you come across."

How long before this becomes Trump's fault?

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Update (0940ET): As expected, France unveiled its plan for reopening its economy beginning on May 11, while cautioning that if the country sees a rebound in infections between now and then, that the lockdown would be extended.

One of the elements of France's plan calls for a ban on large gatherings to remain in place until September at the earliest, which means the French people will need to get used to a summer with no parties, concerts and other traditional summer activities.

As work on a purported fifth coronavirus aid bill continues, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser told CNN on Tuesday that members of Congress should be considered 'essential workers', something that Congressional leaders have resisted given the average age of lawmakers, especially after several GOP lawmakers tested positive for the virus.

She also notable broke with the president over the capitol city's virus response by claiming her city has yet to experience its "peak" infection rate. “We’re looking at all of the information coming in from our scientists and medical experts...and even looking to the guidelines put out by the White House corona task force would suggest that we have to have 14 days of declines in cases in our jurisdiction."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate would reconvene on May 4. Nearly a third of senators are age 70 or older.

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Update (0900ET): Here's a rundown of coronavirus updates from the past hours, as well as earlier this morning.

Iran has seen the number of new cases and deaths fall dramatically over the last week. But even after reporting its latest numbers on Tuesday, bringing total confirmed infections to 92,584, along with 5,877 confirmed deaths amid more evidence that the slowdown has continued, Iran retains the second-highest case total in the Muslim world (outside of Turkey).

Russia reported another 6k+ new cases on Tuesday, another record batch of new cases and deaths, as the Kremlin is increasingly alarmed by the new evidence of just how far the virus has spread. And as the outbreak worsens in Moscow - the regional Metropole - the president of Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet State, has extended his coronavirus 'state of emergency' to May 10, following moves by other Central Asian neighbors as the outbreak in the region continues to intensify.

According to data released by Russia's Ministry of Health, the number of new coronavirus cases was 6,411 on Tuesday, bringing Russia's nationwide tally to 93,558. The number of deaths was 72, raising Russia's death toll to 867. Russia now ranks 8th worldwide in terms of the number of confirmed cases.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been urging businesses to extend an upcoming holiday period to allow more Russians to stay in and avoid infection. Russia will begin two long public holidays beginning on Friday, and lasting until May 11, with only three working days in between which many usually prefer to take off as well, allowing them to spend 2 weeks outside the major cities.

According to Reuters, Russian search engine Yandex has created an "isolation index" that tracks Russians' activities based on app usage.

The index showed on Tuesday that many Russians were still out and on the streets in Moscow, the epicenter of Russia's outbreak, though these numbers have fallen since the beginning of the month.

Kyrgyzstan has confirmed 708 cases of the disease and used the state of emergency to lock down major cities and several provincial districts where outbreaks were registered.

In (sort of) nearby Lithuania, Vilnius, the country's capital city, has announced plans to create a massive open-air cafe to allow restaurant owners to serve the public in a setting that will allow for the enforcement of social distancing. The Baltic state has recorded 1,344 cases of the coronavirus and 44 deaths as of Tuesday morning. The country allowed cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating, hairdressers and almost all shops to begin reopening this week as it begins to exit its lockdown.

The Netherlands reported 48 more deaths from the virus on Tuesday, its lowest single-day total in more than a month, bringing its total death toll from the virus to 4,566 as the eighth-worst-hit outbreak in Europe continues to ease.

Luxembourg has announced an ambitious plan to test its entire population for the virus within the span of a month. Then again, the tiny European principality only has ~600,000 residents.

Following an FT report estimating that global COVID-19 deaths might be 60% higher than reported, the NHS has released new data on deaths in England and Wales which suggest that deaths in both constituent nations of the UK have exceeded the official number by 52%. England is the source of the vast majority of the UK's infections and deaths. On Tuesday, Downing Street played down reports the government could announce a lockdown exit strategy this week, claiming that the UK hasn't yet seen enough evidence that the outbreak has begun to recede.

In a show of defiance as it struggles with the worst outbreak in the Muslim world, Turkey has sent a planeload of scarce PPE to the US, including masks and disinfectants.

And finally: Spain’s coronavirus death toll has climbed to 23,822 according to data released by the Health Ministry on Tuesday. There were 301 deaths recorded over the past 24 hours, compared with 331 yesterday and 288 on Monday as the country continues to 'bend' the curve. The prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, is expected to outline Spain’s exit plan later today.

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US stocks clinched their fourth straight positive close on Monday, with the main indexes logging their longest win streak since February - back when 'lockdowns' were still a foreign concept outside China - as April is on track to snap a three-month losing streak with the strongest monthly rally since 2011.

With the Dow back within spitting distance of 25k, many European and US states have released plans for reopening their economies that have given the people at least some indication of when the lockdown might end (unless it comes roaring back). In New Zealand, surfers hit the waves at dawn for the first time in weeks as the country became one of the first in the developed world to significantly roll back restrictions.

After being asked by NY Mag's Olivia Nuzzi whether he deserved to be reelected after more than 50k Americans succumbed to the virus in a matter of weeks, Trump calmly and coolly made his pitch to the public: Trump noted that the country was bracing for the possibility of millions of deaths just a few weeks ago. And despite all of the gaffes, recriminations and flat-out mistakes and errors in judgment, the US was still able to expand testing and muster a response that has been more effective than efforts undertaken in Italy and Spain (though Germany and South Korea remain in a league of their own when it comes to the efficacy of their respective responses). But despite the big numbers on the board, there's no question that the US response was effective, and big strides were made.

The only problem is that most of Trump's political opponents have now been brainwashed into believing that the economy should remained shuttered until we can ensure that not a single life will be taken unnecessarily by the virus. This standard just isn't possible, and even NY Gov Andrew Cuomo released plans for reopening his state on Monday to try and qualm the fears of millions of New Yorkers whose livelihoods are on the verge of being destroyed.

And as many business owners in Georgia are still reluctant to reopen right now, the New York Times has confirmed that they aren't alone. The paper reported on Tuesday that the biggest obstacle to India's reopening so far has been that business owners and citizens across the country have really bought in to the lockdown, and are now 'too afraid' to go back to work. Back in March, the Lt. Governor of Texas was thoroughly roasted by the MSM for suggesting that he would 'gladly' sacrifice his life for the sake of the economy. And in the NYT's story on Tuesday, a small business owner in northern India expressed an opposing sentiment: "It is better to stay hungry than to get the coronavirus...Why should I risk the lives of my family members for a few hundred rupees?"

It's a hilarious irony that some small business owners in Texas might identify more with the Indian small business owner than their own Lt. Governor as Texas late Monday unveiled its plans reopening its economy, a process that will formally begin on Thursday, followed by a "phased exit" of social distancing practices.

Abbott said Monday he will allow his stay-at-home order for the Lone Star State to expire on Thursday. He will also allow retail stores, malls, restaurants and theaters to reopen Friday, though the state will limit occupancy to 25% in an order that supersedes all municipal rules. Libraries and museums will also be allowed to open, according to CNN.

Readers can learn what other states are planning here.

Abbott says he wants barbershops, salons, gyms and bars to open "as soon as possible" and expects them to open no later than mid-May.

"Now it's time to set a new course, a course that responsibly opens up business in Texas," Abbott said. "We will open in a way that uses safe standards - safe standards for businesses, for their employees as well as for their customers. Standards based upon data and on doctors."

But as Australia and New Zealand start to reopen, and several of the worst-hit European countries prepare to allow more businesses to open, several other countries - notably Japan, Singapore, Russia and Brazil - have emerging as new potential hot spots.

Singapore, of course, is struggling as it discovers that many of the migrant workers in the city state have been infected with the virus. Day after day, Singapore tests as many migrants as it can, and day after day, tons of them test positive. Deaths have been climbing, but remain low, though they did just break above 1k to 1,095. Singapore, a city-state with just under 6 million citizens (and many more migrants), has roughly 15k cases.

The situation is similar in Japan, where the government essentially allowed the virus to penetrate deeply into its society undetected. The reason Japan's emergency rooms haven't been overwhelmed is perhaps a testament to the Japanese health care system, though it certainly has faced unprecedented stress.

Now, one top medical expert is questioning whether Japan will be in a position to hold the Olympic Games next year, according to the AP.

In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro continues to insist that COVID-19 is just a "little flu" and has opposed the lockdowns that have been adopted around the world. Brazil has reported 4,600 deaths and 67,000 confirmed infections. But the true numbers are believed to be vastly higher as hospitals in Sao Paolo claim they're being overwhelmed by severely ill patients.

However, the more we learn about the virus, the more it becomes clear that the number of people who become seriously ill only a tiny fraction of those infected. The latest 'surveillance' study carried out by New York State found that as many as 25% of NYC residents may have already been infected. One ER doctor said the infection rate in the Bronx might already be 40%.

As the pace of new infections and new deaths slows, the number of confirmed cases stands at just over 3 million as of Tuesday morning New York time, according to JHU.

Before we go, we spotted this 'critical news story' in China's Global Times. As many US states struggle to import PPE and other essential products, often paying huge markups to unscrupulous manufacturers, one factory in China is cranking out 'Dr. Fauci Bobbleheads'.

...Just in case you wanted to commemorate those weeks where you only showered 6 times and subsisted solely off of Ramen noodles with a fun collectible.